Inventables Community Forum

Shapeoko 2: quiet spindle or X-carve?

I was just about to check out with my order of a spindle upgrade when the X-carve email appeared in my inbox.

Does anyone have any wisdom they can share about the merits of upgrading to the X-carve's z-axis at the same time?

You mean adding a Spindle drive to your Shapeoko2 vs upgrading to X-Carve but without the spindle (keep using a router)?

If so I think the spindle would be a better upgrade, if you can do both that is ideal. The changes they made to the framework will help keep things tight. The spindle can give you more precise control over the RPM and that allows you to do soft metals and other things that a router (woodworking router) is just too fast to do safely or even well. Also some tooling is not made to handle the RPM's of a router but will work great with the spindle speeds.

So my suggestion is Spindle first and then the frame upgrade if you want to do soft metal, plastic, or PCB. If you are just doing wood then the router is fine and upgrade the framework to give you a bit more accuracy and repeatability with the cuts.

So, I've got a Shapeoko 2 with IC's ACME rod upgrade on it and the 300w 48v Quiet cut spindle. I'm probably going to get an X-Carve upgrade kit. Still mulling it over.

I've got my Z setup to give me right around 3in/80mm of clearance after the ACME upgrade. Before the upgrade, I think i was closer to 3.5in/90mm. I asked and Bart/Inventables responded that the X-Carve has about 2.75in/70mm of Z clearance. If you look closely, there's a lip that extends downwards from the large extrusion to secure the Z axis makerslide. A Shapeoko 2 gantry doesn't expend past the bottoms of the V wheels when stock (~90mm) in comparison. So, we'll lose some Z clearance compared to a shapeoko 2.

In one of the videos, you get a real clear picture of what the new all in one Z carriage/extruded aluminum 24v Spindle mount looks like. They didn't measure, but eyeballing it from the video, it looks like the spindle sits a touch closer to the center of the machine giving you less overhang so cantilevering shouldn't be as bad. But it's only a small percentage so it won't perform miracles.

I also asked if they are going to sell the carriage/spindle mount seperately, and they are still sorting it out. Early days. This was their response today.

We will be offering some of the new parts as individual components on our website but it may be a few weeks before we can do so. The new X-Carriage extrusion and the new spindle mount will most likely be some of the first ones we offer.

Again, early days and they are still sorting things out so this could change. But the 48v 300w spindle does slip right into that mount as seen by one of Inventables assembly vids on youtube.

My router is broken, so I must choose between "just" a spindle or the X-Carve upgrade. I think the upgrade is the obvious choice, but means waiting longer for shipping. (Especially to Europe.)

Thanks for the thoughts!